CHILDREN from Oxford Spires Academy will take part in a celebration of the life of the campaigner behind the Notting Hill Carnival.

The event on Saturday will see dancers and guest speakers mark the occasion at East Oxford Community Centre.

Born 100 years ago in Trinidad, Claudia Jones was deported from the US because of her affiliation with the Communist Party and found asylum in the UK in 1955.

She founded The West Indian Gazette and Afro-Asian Caribbean News, a newspaper that covered communities from Africa, Asia and the West Indies, in 1958 in Brixton.

That same year, the Notting Hill race riots erupted over several nights from the end of August to the beginning of September and heightened tensions between the police and the African-Caribbean community.

In response to those events, Mrs Jones organised her first Caribbean carnival in January 1959 at London’s St Pancras Town Hall. The event moved to the streets of Notting Hill in the mid-1960s and remains one of the biggest street festivals in the world, attracting more than a million people every year.

Similar carnivals are now held across the UK, including Oxford’s Cowley Road Carnival, which started in 2001.

Natty Mark Samuels, the founder of African School, an educational project based in Oxford, whose play Dance for Claudia Jones will be performed by pupils on Saturday, praised Mrs Jones’ achievements.

He said: “She accomplished so much. She organised the Notting Hill Carnival as a gift to the wider community, as an act of reconciliation.”

Mr Samuels, who wrote and directed the play with actress and director Amy Standish, described Mrs Jones as “an exceptional force”. He said: “For me, that’s the one word that describes her perfectly: indomitable”.

“She has done so much, and not just for the black community, but for everyone who believed in peace and dignity.”

In addition to Mr Samuel’s play, Donald Hind, who worked as a journalist on the Gazette, Eric Levy, one of her close friends, and historian Marika Sherwood, Mrs Jones’ biographer, will attend as guest speakers.

Youngsters from Oxford and London will present their historical research on the archives of the Gazette and Oxford-based group African Dance will perform.

Mr Samuels added: “If it’s going to be a proper community celebration, then it has got to be inclusive. I’m hoping it will be a full house.”

There will be Caribbean folk music and Caribbean food. Entry to the event at the Princes Street venue from 4pm to 9pm is free, with a suggested donation of £5.